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How Biobands Work

BioBands is an adjustable wristband that applies continuous acupressure to the P-6 acupressure point at the wrist to relieve nausea and vomiting from motion sickness, morning sickness, cancer treatments, and surgery anesthesia.

A BioBand has a bead sewn into the wristband. This bead is positioned at a precise point on either wrist, then the band is tightened snugly so that it applies a constant pressure to this point (known as P-6) located on the inner forearm just above the wrist.

By Using Acupressure from a Doctors Medical Device

Acupressure works on the same principle as acupuncture, but by using constant pressure instead needles. This treatment method, originally developed in China, has also been studied extensively by western medical researchers. And they have found considerable evidence (with many controlled, clinical studies) that both acupuncture and acupressure, applied correctly to the P-6 acupressure point at the wrist, can alleviate nausea and vomiting. – You can read more about these studies at “Research Proves It Works”.

Medical scientists don’t know for sure how acupressure wristbands relieve nausea and vomiting (then again, they don’t know for sure how aspirin works either). But the theories they have so far point to two possible explanations of how BioBands works:

  • Using an acupressure wristband interrupts the nervous system signals that bring about nausea symptoms in the body.
  • The continual pressure to the P-6 acupressure points causes the release of endorphins, neurotransmitters that act as a natural painkiller within the body.

The Physiology and Medical Theory

Different nerve fibers carry signals to the brain at different speeds. Touch and pressure signals are carried by large-diameter nerve fibers and will arrive at the brain much sooner than pain sensation and signals, which are carried by small-diameter nerve fibers.

For example, consider what happens when you stub your toe. - The first thing you feel is a sensation of impact as your toe hits the wall. Then, a minute or so later, you feel the pain from the injury to your toe, even though the tissue damage occurred at the same moment. This is because information about touch sensations travels to the brain through faster nerve fibers, while information about pain and tissue damage travels to the brain through slower nerve fibers. – The touch signals will always reach the brain first.

A famous theory about pain, called the Gate-Control Theory, was devised by two researchers, Patrick Wall and Ronald Melzack, in 1965. They concluded that, if there are more neurological signals coming from the small-diameter fibers, then the brain reacts by feeling pain. But if there are more signals from the large-diameter fibers, then the pain is not felt. The reason is that these signals will arrive first - effectively “closing the gate” and overriding the slower pain signals to the brain.

As an example, think about this. - What’s the first thing you probably do after bumping your head by accident? You rub it and it feels better, right? – How this works can be explained by the Gate-Control Theory. Rubbing your head would activate touch and pressure signals sent to the brain by large nerve fibers. They would arrive at the brain first, and interrupt reception of the pain signals.

How It Works

This same principle applies to the different signals that cause nausea and vomiting – the signals to the brain that activate the brain’s Vomiting Center. The neurological signals that trigger nausea will travel to the brain through slower small-diameter nerve fibers.

But a BioBand creates pressure signals that travel through faster large-diameter nerve fibers in the median nerve to the brain. Applying a BioBand at this exact point (between two tendons and pressing the median nerve) will activate sensory receptors (proprioceptors), sending faster pressure sensation signals to the brain, interrupting the signals that would trigger the Vomiting Center.

And because BioBands are designed to provide constant pressure to the P-6 acupressure point, the faster signals from the sensory receptors are continual, and the interruptions to the nausea-causing signals are continuous. Thus relieving the pain and discomfort that comes from nausea and vomiting.

Academic Citations:

Melzack R, Wall PD. Pain Mechanisms: A New Theory, Science 1965; 150: 971-979
Melzack R, Wall PD. The Challenge of Pain (2nd ed.) London: Penguin books, 1996